Sometimes you gotta wonder. I mean, really. You gotta wonder.
"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan
Imagine an educated person voting for someone who would state something so ignorant. But we did. And re-elected him President of the U.S.
I don't know whether I am amazed or dismayed by the election results. Not talking about the presidential race of course, that was not a surprise. However, some of the other results are going to have far reaching and possibly your reversible effects. This of course involves raising taxes.
I find it hard to believe that a referendum would pass that involves $130 million of new taxes being imposed on citizens and as an alternative only offering $67 million of tax relief. The only good explanation for this would be how the tax-and-spend liberals were to just out to confuse people who did not read and understand the proposal. Instead they offered misleading statements like property taxes are going to be reduced. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are also reports from people who claim to be sane yet are trying to tell me that the parks in Milwaukee County are being used by people from out of state. I have gone past many parks in the Milwaukee County system yet I have not seen an overrun of out-of-state plates and people from outside the county who are sucking all of the park's services and not paying property taxes. However the solution to this is to increase the sales tax in these out-of-state parks users will be making up the difference and more by buying all of our goods and services being offered by businesses adjacent to the County Parks. I'd like to see the math to support this. Why are out-of-state people suddenly going to buy goods and services now that the sales tax is increased? Are the parks going to get that much better that quickly?
I write this a few moments after watching President-Elect Barack Obama's first news conference. Folks, we have a very special man here. As he did all through his campaign for president, he was on-target, comfortable, intelligent, and the man exudes a presidential aura. As I reflect back over the last 60 years, I realize how limited, and in some cases inept, have been our presidents. The possible exception was John F. Kennedy. There was great hope with JFK, let us hope that nothing that terrible befalls our current president-elect.
Yes, we all know there are kooks on the right and on the left. But the dangers surrounding the first elected African American president are tremendous. And make no mistake about it, there are people in important roles in our society, people from the extreme right-wing, for example, who absolutely cannot accept such a president.
As we hopefully enter a new age, a new perspective, and new values in the United States, it will not be easy to get past our burdens of right-wing greed, bigotry, lack of altruism, parochial thoughts of America being better than any nation, ignorance of history, self-centered foreign relations, seeing war as a way to settle everything, equating wealth with intelligence, being afraid to challenge ourselves historically or currently, ad infinitum. Here are some past demons we must exorcise:
"It is time to turn from quarrels and to build our White ramparts again. The alliance with foreign races means nothing but death for us." -Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. [yes, THAT Charles Lindbergh, who also saw Hitler as a hero]
Ole, El presidente Obama!
Another group that influenced the latest presidential election: Hispanics. Get used to it. And get over the terrible anti-immigrant psychosis that has gripped America. How quickly we forget how past immigrants held onto their European languages and customs for not one, but several generations. In fact, laws had to be passed in some areas so that second and third generation German-Americans and others would finally allow students to have textbooks printed in English. Current immigrants are making a genuine effort to learn English in their first-generation arrival in the U.S. Along with the bigotry suffered by African Americans who were brought here as slaves by Anglos, the Hispanic immigrants have had to suffer through untold bigotry on their own.
GUANTANOMO- close the damn thing down, and prosecute those who need prosecuting in the U.S. Make a clear, outright statement that there will be no torture during an Obama presidency.
IRAQ- get out as soon as possible. This mess will be a long-time settling. Iraq never was a cohesive nation; it was glued together by European colonialism. The Shiites, Sunni, and Kurds problems will continue to fester for decades, and the fate of that "nation" will probably evolve under another strongman who will assume absolute control, or it will become three entities. There is now enough money and resources for the Baghdad government to be independent of the U.S. presence, or evolve into what the people in Iraq want. We have created a monster in Iraq. Neocon stupidity.
Just when I thought that these so-called advisory referendum for the countywide sales tax was based on people not understanding the question because it was written in a way that was set to produce a predetermined result, a new poll comes out which is even more slanted and producing even more misdirected results for the casual observer. And of course this poll was taken to days after this "advisory"referendum was voted on. From Monday's Journal Sentinel:
"If you knew that the majority of metro areas in the United States fund transit by sales tax and that a portion of southeastern Wisconsin's sales tax is paid by visitors from outside the region, which of the following would you prefer be the primary source of funding for public transit services in Southeast Wisconsin: Sales taxes, paid on all non-essential consumer purchases; payroll taxes, paid by all who work in the region; property taxes, paid only by property owners; or vehicle registration fees, paid by vehicle owners?" (47% picked sales taxes, far more than any other option.)
- "Some people have suggested expanding public transit in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties. If you knew that transit was seen as a top priority for the economic future of our region by top business and economic development leaders, would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose expanding public transit in this region?" (78% voiced some degree of support.)
Boy, these results will really clear things up for us. It seems like everyone wants higher taxes just to produce more public transportation that will be going largely unused. What could be a better deal? Voting for a $130 million tax increase while only seeking $67 million in tax relief? 30 years ago, Gov. Lee Dreyfus had a surplus in the Wisconsin budget and gave it back to the people, the taxpayers of Wisconsin. Now, of course, there is no surplus in the Wisconsin budget. Reports of a $5 billion deficit are a whole other story. But if we replace a tax levy of $67 million with a tax levy of $130 million, even though these will be differently collected, there is still a lot of money that is not being accounted for at present. Apparently Lee Holloway and the Milwaukee County government board just want to have a field day and spend our money any way they wish. Doing it under the guise of helping the poor get to work. It would be a noble effort if it was not such a fantastic lie.
No matter how the Obama presidency plays out, the Karl Rove-type critics are waiting for his first slip. And if a slip does not occur quickly enough, they are loaded for bear to create their own interpretations on everything, and to hell! with real events or history. The anti-intellectual right-wing, now whimpering like spoiled brats, will continue on endlessly. Here is how they "see" what is playing out...
George W. Bush, though sinking around 26-28% approval ratings, is still beloved by the right-wing and is only being criticized by liberals. A-hem.
Sign up at www.bayside-wi.gov for the Village’s “do not solicit” list. The Village Board recently enacted an Ordinance that allows residents to sign for a do not solicit list, similar to a do not call list, which will prohibit certain types of solicitors from coming to your home. More information can be found in the Ordinance at http://www.bayside-wi.gov/cm/PDFs/08-591%20transient%20merch.pdf.
Kudos to Dan Bice for his continuing coverage of who is getting huge payouts in exchange for retiring from County service. He is a true watch dog. However, like all watchdogs, a little noise is made. The bite will have no teeth. And after a while, the noise will subside and all will be forgotten. All will be forgiven. And that's too bad.
It has been over seven years since the then Milwaukee County Board made it legal for retirees to collect on huge payouts upon retirement. Unlike the private sector, no monetary investment is made, yet a huge payout is given in return. And taxpayers are expected to foot the bill. Then, to an insult to injury, a current Board of Supervisors is trying to raise taxes in order to provide services of which cannot be paid for because the commitment has been made to make these huge retirement bonus payouts. This is an absolute rape of the taxpayer. And nothing gets done about it. And nothing will get done about it.
"Cross burnings. Children on a school bus in Idaho reportedly chanting 'Assasinate Obama.' Black figures hung from nooses. Racial ephithets scrawled on homes and cars. Incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are dampening the postelection glow of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America."
William Ferris of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill commented: "It's shaking the foundations on which the country has existed for centuries. Someone once said racism is like cancer. It's never totally wiped out; its' in remission." -above from Associated Press reports in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 16, 2008, page 8A
Let us hope that President-elect Obama is good to his pledge to change things in Washington. Congress and all facets of the federal government need a complete cleansing. Old patterns of cronyism and corporate pay-offs must end. But by far the biggest immediate need is to get the stink out of the White House. Left behind by George W. Bush and his administration are horrendous secrets, pay-offs, favoritism, military misadventures, snooping on private citizens, billions upon billions of hidden waste in Iraq and elsewhere, ad infinitum. The Free World awaits your action in this regard.
This cannot stand uninvestigated. To be put in place immediately should be inspectors general who can get at all the fascist-like government secrets used by the Bush administration for unsavory means. Two places to begin with I.G. action would be in the Pentagon and related agencies that squandered literally scores of billions of dollars in Iraq and elsewhere with no resultant benefit, and the Justice Department where the Constitution has been shredded.
It seems like only a few years ago when the Green Bay Packers would be playing several games on Monday night football. When that would happen, there would be a large amount of absenteeism at the Janesville GM plant. The managers at the plant would go on to remedy this situation by adding a bunch of TVs. How many trucks would get produce that many? I don't know, but apparently the employees had a good time watching football during a day at work. This coming Monday night may be one of the last for the Janesville GM employees to enjoy a night of hard labor and football simultaneously.
This scenario alone did not create the circumstances for closing a plant in Janesville, but it may have contributed at least in a small way. For many years, Janesville has been a proud producer of large GM gas guzzling vehicles. For years, the Janesville plant has also been demonized for producing large GM gas guzzling vehicles. However, this one plant is certainly not the only culprit for what is wrong with the automobile industry today.
Well, my favorite time of the year is barely days upon us. A day of unconditional, unrestricted, unrepetent gorging. Eat. Sleep. Watch TV. Man oh man, that's the kind of holiday I'm talking about.
Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday, and ranks up there for me. For me, in ways, it's more patriotic than the 4th of July. It gives us a time to be with family and reflect upon what it is that our country has to offer, and how it is that we all came to be a part of this great nation---whether our families arrived here recently or centuries ago.
As January 20 approaches, it will slowly be revealed to us whether we are able to collect on the promises that were repeated for the last year in this long presidential campaign or if we have to grant a pass saying it was election year rhetoric, that was all. Comprehensively, Americans were promised change. And now, as Barack Obama begins to put his administration together, we were led to believe by the Obama campaign that we could just sit back and watch the miracles happen. If anything was questioned, the Liberals would fire back calling the questioners bigots. Any dissension would be un-American.
Now we are finding out what change actually means; changes bringing back people from the Clinton administration. Change also means bringing back Jimmy Carter's advisors -- the ones who haven't entered their drooling years. Change means keeping the defense secretary from the Bush administration who for over a year was being lambasted as failed policies and wrong on the war in Iraq. It seemed to me that he would be the first to go if the war in Iraq was one of the major issues. Also, one of the first things he would do as president, Obama would issue an executive order reducing the amount of oil that would be drilled off the shores of the United States. This is also in contrast to the position he campaigned on when he issued that he would be open to such exploration to assure energy independence in America. Without the sterling, the United States would continue to send huge amounts of money to the mid Eastern countries for oil. Gee, Wally, I hope Obama wasn't saying anything just to get elected.